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Stories and concert reviews from Spirit fans

Spirit, Sebastian Beach Inn, November 22, 1996, text & photos by John Fulton Jr.

Spirit performed to a small (>100) but appreciative crowd on Friday night at the Sebastian Beach Inn. The band took the stage at about 10:30, following what appeared to be an unscheduled encore by the local band 75 Years (Nice power trio w/original music); unscheduled I believe because Randy and Ed were seen walking into the place as 75 years was doing their encore, apparently they had just arrived!

Anyway, Randy appeared tired before the show when I welcomed him (back) to Florida and asked if it was ok if I took a few photos ("Just don't flash us in the eyes, ok!") Randy was wearing a white Sweatshirt w/ a photo from "12 Dreams" on it and Mr. Cassidy was dressed in his usual Basic Black. The band consisted of Randy, Ed, Liberty (I learned later) on bass, and an unidentified keyboard player (I asked his name after the show but forgot; he said this was only his 3rd gig with the band).

After some equipment adjustments (Cass was not too happy with the house drum kit's set up), the band took off into "So Little Time to Fly"! Wonderful, one of my all time (they all are at sometime) favorite Spirit songs which I don't recall ever hearing them perform live! I knew it was gonna be a special night! Next, after a little intro by Randy about the strike in L.A. while recording the first LP, "Fresh Garbage" with the keys ringing out nicely on this one (for his 3rd gig!). Randy introduced every (or just about every) song with a brief story about its origin, and so he relayed the story of being stranded in Tampa where they were supposed to open a tour with "some English band," he didn't say who, and how a local DJ suggested they perform at the Curtis Hickson(?) Hall for $3 per person. Randy said they did, 3,000 people showed up, and they went into the studio to record "The Spirit of '76". Then they proceeded to play, another one of my favorites, "Tampa Jam, Part 1" and they did jam it out!!! concert4.jpg A few songs later and Randy introduced this next song having something to do with Mark being sick and calling his mother..."Somebody Tell My Mother...." Yeah, they played "Mechanical World" in all its offbeat, out of synch glory. From that point on it was all pretty blurry, partly the beer, mostly the band. It was a wonderful evening of beautiful music, unfortunately, it was over around midnight. But before they left, they managed to play several other Spirit Classics including "Natures Way," "Dark Eyed Woman," "I Got A Line On You" and of course "Mr. Skin"! They only played two selections from the new California Blues LP, "One World" and "We Believe" I was sort of dissappointed that we didn't get to hear more from this one, especially would have liked to hear Randy play some acoustic, but I certainly can't complain about the set...I mean, they played "Mechanical World"!!!

The band hung around for a little while after the show, sold "12 Dreams" Tee Shirts, California Blues CDs, and signed autographs. I almost forgot, they also played versions of "Red House" and "Like A Rolling Stone," the later into included a recollection of Randy's meeting Jimi at Manny's Music, and that Dylan was one of Jimi's favourites....

I presented Randy with a Tee Shirt from Hey Joe-digest which I think he liked, and I gave him the e-mail subscription address, so I hope that he'll join in the conversation someday! Ed appeared pretty tired by the time I got to talk to him, but he did sign a few CDs for me (Feedback & Fankhauser/Cassidy Band).

After Randy and Ed left, I had last call (or two) with Liberty (bass) ad the unknown keyboard player! I wish I could have jumped in my car, drove to Tampa, and set up early to hear them play again, but reality always seems to get in the way of things like that anymore...

So I guess I'll just have to keep the Spirit in my head and on my stereo, until we meet again....

(by: John Fulton Jr.)

Spirit & I by Bob Bullions

Ed Cassidy & Bob Bullions in 1990

"I am 45 years old, married with three children. I heard my first Spirit album at a party I attended way back in 1969 ("Family"). I have been a huge fan ever since. I have most of their catalog on album and CD. I have seen Spirit about 12 times. The first date I went on with my wife was a Spirit show on Oct 31, 1975.

The first Spirit show that I ever saw was in 1972 in Norfolk, Virginia where I was stationed in the US Navy. I went to the second of 2 shows they did that night. The opening act was a group from England called Trapeze. The lineup for Spirit on this night was Ed, John Locke and Al and Christian Staehely. I think at that time Randy was not in the band and recovering from the spill he took off a horse.

Spirit was promoting their "Feedback" album. Their set started about 1:00am and lasted for 2 hours. During the show they played most of the "Feedback" album plus classics from the first four albums (including "Ice"!).

Two memorable highlights I have of the show are when John played Herbie Hancock's song called "Watermelon Man" on a hand held breath controlled keyboard and Ed's drum solo on "Elijah". Ed started his solo in normal fashion sitting at his drums then, as he really got into his solo he stood up and walked around to the front of his drum set still playing and not missing a beat. He then began to drum all over his drum set working his way eventually down to the floor accross the stage toward the footlights. Still not missing a beat, he played on the footlights many of them smashing in the process. The audience was going crazy as Ed tapped his way back across the stage up his drum set and back around to his seat where he completed the solo with both drum sticks and bear hands.

Their set ended at around 3:00am with a rocking version of "I Got A Line On You" that had the whole audience on their feet and down to the front of the stage. After the song was over Ed came to the front of the stage and tried to speak but the theater management had shut off the power to the stage and microphones. Ed got the audience quiet when he raised his right hand like his pose on the back of the "Family" album. That pose made the crowd go nuts but we eventually settled down. Ed wanted to tell the audience that this was only his second time to be in Norfolk, Virginia and that the first time was when he was in the Navy in the 1940's. He thanked everybody then left the stage.

I filed out of the theater with the rest of the crowd and was walking behind the theater toward the bus stop when I heard people yelling in front of me. They had seen Ed through a second story window of the theater. Ed heard the people yelling for him from the street below and opened the window then stuck his head out. He waved to us and again raised his right arm in his classic pose.

I will never forget that show as well as the many others that I have seen. Ed and Randy as well as the other members of Spirit, in my opinion, have always been friendly to approach and have always had a good relationship with their fans.

(By: Bob Bullions)

Craig Posen in L.A. have the honour of being the first Spiritfan to have his concert review published here:

I just got back from seeing Spirit, what a show! The place I saw them at is a very small club. Just a dance floor in front and bar in back, then there is an upstairs balcony and restaurant, on the third floor is a private room with back stage dressing rooms. This is the set list:

Life Has Just Begun (with Randy on solo electric guitar)

All Along The Watchtower

Fresh Garbage (with Scott kicking ass on keyboards)

Natures Way

Like A Rolling Stone

Red House

Dark Eyed Woman

I Got A Line On You

For the encore they did a killer version of:

Animal Zoo

All in all it was a great show, Ed Cassidy kicked out on drums, man he looks great for a 73 year old! Randy had a picture of Jimi on his guitar and was great on All Along The Watchtower and Red House. After the show they hung around and signed autographs, I talked to them for a while and told Randy about your website and he said to send him info at http://kspace.com. Check it out, I know I will. I was talking to the bass player after the show ( his name is Liberty, been with them for 10 years) and he said they cut two songs out of the set, he thought it a time prob., the songs were Hey Joe and a song from the new album they're working on now.

(By: Craig Posen)

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